Tampa Bay Lightning forward Matthew Peca is just eight games into his NHL career since being recalled from the Syracuse Crunch on Dec. 27, but he’s adjusting quickly to playing at the game’s highest level.
Peca has a goal and an assist and is averaging 12 minutes of ice time per game as the Lightning seek to close a six-point gap for the final wild card position in the Eastern Conference currently held by the Philadelphia Flyers.
This is this week’s “Marty Memories” (full) edition of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:
· Marty memories
· WJC recap and prospect review
· Where do WJC prospects fit in TB plan?
· 3 prospects traded
· Checking in on Syracuse
· Interview with AHL All-Star Matt Taormina
· A rant.
In three years, Matt Taormina has gone from struggling to find an AHL deal to being a league-leading defenseman
After a trade sent him from Syracuse to Springfield the season prior, Taormina was humbled as he searched for a home in the AHL and settled on a contract with Worcester in late September 2014. Now the 30-year-old is back with the Crunch, leads all AHL blueliners with 32 points and was selected to participate in the AHL All-Star Classic for a fourth time.
Taormina is embracing his role as a veteran leader as he continues to push for a spot in the NHL.
“If you have some down years, it will hurt you a little bit,” Taormina said. “I wasn’t at my full potential back then, and now I think I’ve really figured it out. I’ve stayed calm and steady, and I feel a lot more comfortable and confident than I have since early on in my career.”
Ben Thomas soaked in what he could in last year’s eight-game stint in Syracuse.
The defenseman joined the Crunch after the conclusion of his junior season last spring, and recorded his first pro goal and three assists. More importantly, Thomas learned what to expect and gained confidence knowing he could play at the AHL level.
Thomas is continuing to show progress during his rookie season as he adjusts to pro hockey.
“I think it was good for me last year to step in at the end, get some experience and show myself that I can play at this level,” Thomas said. “That gave me confidence coming into this year, and I was able to get off to a pretty good start. Those games last year really helped me.”
This is this week’s “Roller Coaster” edition of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:
· The No. 83 and plus/minus franchise leaders
· Lightning roller coaster is out of control
· Follow the bouncing prospects
· Upsides of recent call-ups
· Interview with Syracuse’s Gabriel Dumont
· Interview with rookie pro Ben Thomas
· WJC update
Gabriel Dumont’s goals have remained the same since he was a rookie six years ago.
A veteran who has competed in more than 400 AHL games in the Montreal organization, Dumont signed with Tampa Bay last summer with the belief that he could earn a call-up to the Lightning.
Dumont has registered 10 points in 17 games with the Syracuse Crunch this season, as he continues to push for another opportunity in the NHL.
“You always want to work on everything,” Dumont said. “You ask any player. Everybody wants to get better, get faster, get stronger, shoot the puck better. I think the goal is — no matter hold old you are — is to keep improving every day. As long as you’re improving, you won’t fall off the radar.”
This is this week’s “Carle-Stralman” edition of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:
· Will the real Tampa Bay Lightning please stand up?
· Down goes Bishop
· Gudlevskis vs Wilcox
· Bishop vs Vasilevskiy
· Expansion draft paralyzing trade market
· Love for Boko
· WJC watch
This is this week’s mailbag to accompany the “Jonathan Marchessault Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast.
· Loss to Vancouver still stinging
· Is Sustr’s ice time vs Canucks really that big of a deal? Why?
· Disconnect between forwards and defense? Coach and GM?
· Basically the same roster for three years – is the team stale?
· Why can’t we get analytics charts we can read?
· Is Boko the next Rocket Richard winner? (tongue-in-cheek)
· Boko’s got swag for days. No question, just a statement.
· Johnson for Shattenkirk?
· Cirelli a player or just a really nice Italian boy?
· Junior level prospects garnering excitement?
· Mitchell Stephens production next year in AHL.
· Drouin-Point-Kucherov? Please?
· What shakeups would you make?
· Which prospects are future fan favorites?
· Koekkoek v. Nesterov v. Witkowski
· Can Koekkoek be a top-4 by April?
· Trade targets broken down by category; preference discussed
This week’s “Jonathan Marchessault Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:
· The No. 81
· Marchessault vs Norfolk, Syracuse
· Young players and ice time
· Pinpointing the Lightning’s holes so far this year
· Big contracts don’t equal big production
· Yzerplan not working (or being allowed to work?) on D
· How to fix things and who/what could be expendable
· Holes in D depth, though positives rising
· Interview with and about Jake Dotchin
· World Juniors watch
· MacLeod rumors
(Note: The #BPMailbag will be in a separate edition this week.)
Jake Dotchin is adding more facets to his game in his third pro season.
Despite being known more as a physical people-mover than a flashy puck-mover, the Crunch blueliner is coming off a career week statistically. Dotchin registered five points and was a plus-five on Syracuse’s three-game homestand last week.
Dotchin is working to become more than a traditional stay-at-home defenseman.
“I think I’ve come a long way in the defensive zone, and I’m just bringing more aspects to my game now,” Dotchin said. “Bringing more offense will not only help me, but help the team win as well.”